WHAT IS SEX POSITIVITY AND HOW IS IT SOULCARE?
Sexuality and relationship educator Jayda Shuavarnnasri on sensuality as a birthright
– KEYS SOULCARE
As a queer sexual wellness educator, Jayda Shuavarnnasri became the self-described “Sex-Positive Asian Auntie” her younger self always needed — helping folks unlearn sexual shame, address sexuality with more openness and curiosity, and create more freeing relationships
Through humor and defiance, Jayda breaks all the “rules” about relationships, sex, and romance. From her podcast called Don’t Say Sorry to signature workshops such as “Jumping Off the Relationship Escalator,” self-satisfaction and resisting patriarchal boxes are all part of Jayda’s mission to stop sexual shame and boost joy and pleasure.
We had the pleasure of sitting down with the sensual healer for an enlightening take on soulcare, relationships, and pleasure.
First things first: how did you come up with that incredible title?
I prefer going by “sex-positive Asian Auntie” because that feels more like the energy that I try to embody in the world. When I was first entering this work, I realized that you can get caught up in titles and what you’re “supposed” to call yourself. But labels should help other people understand what you do, right? So, that’s the goal!
How do sex relationships and identity relate to soulcare?
It’s really just studying or sitting with your relationship to your own body and how the rest of the world also relates to your own body. I know that when people think of “sex educator,” they’re [often] thinking of the actual act of sex. But, sexuality encompasses how we feel about ourselves, how we feel about our sexual orientation, and our gender. It is also sexual acts, but we’ve got to break it down to that first relationship with ourselves and [abilities] to feel pleasure within all of that.
What role does that relationship to ourselves play in pleasure and self-care?
We live in a sex-negative culture: one that treats certain identities and certain people as less than and undeserving of care, let alone pleasure. Sexuality is one of the things that you can do in the world that’s just purely pleasurable!
And so when there’s something that exists in our human nature that’s solely for pleasure, we [can be] really scared of that and knowing how to harness that. It’s really hard for people to accept that they’re actually more wired for love, joy, and pleasure than they are for struggle, but it’s true.
What does soulcare mean to you?
Rituals, for me, are so big. For maybe the last few years, soulcare was me tapping into my intuition and asking myself, “If my soul had a voice, what would it sound like? What does she need right now?” For so long, I felt disconnected from that voice, so I take care to tend to her so that she sticks around and doesn’t feel the need to hide or go away. A morning journaling practice is very helpful for that — just writing free-flowing thoughts.
And the second one is just movement. I am not a huge meditation person as much as I want to be. I’ve learned to accept that my intuition is like, “You don’t want to sit still, you want to move, you want to do a thing.” My mom has this weighted hula hoop that I’ve been borrowing, and I also love roller skating and walking outside and swinging my arms — very Asian Auntie-style — in the park, just to get out that energy.
In your work, you talk a lot about how romantic relationships are not the end-all-be-all type of connection we can build. Why is uncoupling that idea so important?
A lot of people are challenged with this idea of how sex is supposed to look — whether in the act or what their “sex life” is supposed to look like. They have these step-by-step goals and boxes to check for “good” or “good sex.”
The world says you’re supposed to find someone who likes you enough to stick around forever. And then you live together, you get married, and you have kids. Four or five dates in, we’re thinking about the outcome. We’re “invested” and we want a return — outcome — on that investment of our time or effort. We want an outcome. It’s a very capitalistic way to look at our experience, which is so fluid. We change and grow all the time, and that view doesn’t allow for that. I think that prevents us from actually being in the moment of what it feels like to be in like this pleasurable experience with another person. I’d ask, how can we enjoy each other without [an] end goal?
What can platonic relationships teach us that others can’t?
Have you noticed that most of the time, people don’t have goal-oriented ideas about friendship? When it comes to friendships, there’s a notion that they don’t last forever all the time, and they can still be beautiful. We have so many of those throughout our lives that we accept that they’ll end more often than we do with our romantic relationships, you know? We just honor them for the time being. And they’re still precious — even if they’re not for our entire lives. I wish we could do that more with our romantic connections.
You also talk about how kink can play a role in elevating all manner of relationships and our overall ability to experience pleasure.
I love this question. So many times, pleasure and self-love are marketed in the world as “positive vibes,” candles, and baths. And those are so nourishing. But when I think of kink, I think of the shadow work that’s just as necessary. It deviates so much from the norm for people — and therefore, we can feel guilty or ashamed of them.
There’s so much consent that goes into kink. How do we give ourselves the most pleasure? How do we give others pleasure? Exploring our boundaries and what our desires are can empower us even more to know who we are.
What is your highest vision for yourself in the work that you’re doing right now?
My vision is for folks to find relationships that really help them feel free and unrestricted, whether that’s individual relationships, their relationship to the greater world, or their relationship to nature. I want all of us to get to a place where our light and ability to feel joy, pleasure, and all those things are uncompromised.
How can you deepen your soulcare rituals by embracing your sensuality? Share in the comments!